An ordensburg is much the same as a bischofsburg, just for the Order and not a Bishop. The Order in this case is the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order who took Keila over when the old owners decided they had enough and could sell the place. The Order was quite appreciative of this, and Keila’s importance grew considerably with this place becoming one of the most important castles near Tallinn (Reval) where a lot of the logistics was determined, also evidenced by the Order’s Komtur (Commander) of Tallinn living here.
I enjoyed this a bit more than the previous volume, mostly because Mr Turnbull had described the religious and organisatorial aspects of the Teutonic life and was able to input more about various episodes. Primarily, as the nature of the subject here is the Livonian chapter, these episodes concerned undertakings in the Northern Baltics but some were also relevant in light of the previous volume. Continue reading “Review: Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (2), Stephen Turnbull”
This book provides a solid overview of the Northern European variety of castles along with plenty of the accompanying history (especially for someone whose knowledge of the history of these lands is very poor!) to get decently acquainted. Continue reading “Review: Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (1), Stephen Turnbull”
English regrettably lacks the term I was looking for here, or at least it’s clumsier than Bischofsburg: Episcopal Castle, so I’ve gone with the German term. I guess this comes from the fact that rarely were bishops there highest secular power in a region/area in the British Isles and so their construction efforts took the form of palaces and priories more than castles (North Elmham is a good exception but it’s still called ‘castle’ and it’s bishop was definitely subservient to the King with regards to secular folk in the Bishopric of Norwich). Continue reading “Bischofsburg Hapsal (Haapsalu)”
Aubonne came to me by a sleight of hand. I was at nearby Allaman which I had established as a site previously, and only by accident did I notice that it was worth drudging into Aubonne as well (I actually gave up halfway up the hill and took the bus, but let’s ignore this shall we…). The château here is, most beautifully, situated on the highest place in the township although it also encloses a school in the modern day so is unsuitable for visiting at certain times of day.
The confluence of paths near Allaman is a feature of its history — and one could say that this lakeside location is unsurprisingly in a coveted place, for who would not want to be situated in the midst of where the news travels. In the modern day, this is also a sizeable private property, which can be used for functions; historically, Allaman was almost what Geneva is today: a symbol of peace and common prosperity.
From the lakeside approach to Yvoire, the château appears as if out of the water. The small peninsula it is built upon is perfect for holding this keep, although the location mostly leaves our imagination to build a thriving picture of this town and the castle here. This is suitable as, in ancient French tradition, this is a private settlement and public approaches are severely restricted.
Prangins is a perfect example of resilience in the face of destruction, that most human of qualities which counteracts the also very human sense of destruction. The structure one sees today is from a new owner’s endeavours after 1723 yet medieval settlement of this site dates at least to the 1090’s — medieval for this was a site of relevance already for those fabled conquerors from the south, the Romans, who have left a very visible mark on nearby Nyon.
Rolle is probably the most memorable of the places I visited in my one/two days of exploration in rural Vaud and Geneva, lands mostly in the ownership of Savoie in the olden days. What made this place spectacular was its simplicity and real sense of defensibility. A lot of the other châteaus in this area are far more of the ‘recent country house’ style, even if their origin is in the Middle Ages. Continue reading “Château de Rolle”
Coppet is a private site — though it acts as a museum in the summertime — and therefore one’s freedom of movement on the grounds is restricted at times, or at least some entryways are blocked. The easiest solution on the December day I found myself visiting was to walk around the perimeter of the structure as much as I could.